THE BLOG

Self Scan Kind of Life

14/03/2013 15:10 GMT | Updated 14/05/2013 10:12 BST

Recently I've been thinking that with the rise of the self scan and self service machines, and with the impending closure of the entire high street, you may laugh but you won't be laughing in five years time when the high street resembles a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie, that we appear to be heading for a self service life.

Firstly I blame the supermarkets for this, or more importantly all those people who wondered how amazing it would feel to scan their own food just the once, well that came back to kick you in the face didn't it, because now the chance of getting served by a real person is about as remote as finding a unicorn in the Sahara desert.

Although they do come with their perks, because lets be honest some times you wonder how the person serving you managed to get a job in customer service as they send a scowl in your direction, whilst scanning your vegetables because you disturbed them. However if I had to sit there and scan someone's ten bottles of wine knowing they were off to a party I think I'd be annoyed too.

But despite this one minor perk of the self scan, we now find ourselves regularly shouting at machines in the supermarket because there's an "unexpected item in the bagging area," which was once reserved for your own living room when your computer told you that you'd "performed an illegal operation.'

The worrying thing is though, we seem to have become our own shop assistants when in store, in Ikea there's a machine so you can locate an item in store so you don't disturb the otherwise overly busy staff. In Argos there's also a self-service machine so you can go and sit on those horrible little chairs and stare at you item on the shelf for ten minutes before they call your name.

Even though the high street may die a death, machines powered by us will probably run the shops that remain open. But this technique of doing things ourselves appears to be running into other areas of our lives.

Just look at hospitals and doctors surgeries. I have spoken before about how difficult it is to get an appointment at a doctors surgery, in fact by the time you get there you'll probably have already recovered from your illness or died a horrible yet convenient death for your GP. But just in case the wait at A&E is too long or your problem isn't that serious and you can't get into your GP surgery for another six weeks, there's always NHS direct.

Anyone who's used the NHS direct system, either online or by telephone will tell you that it is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. When you phone you can sometimes be on hold for about thirty minutes, if not a full hour, and if you check online the categories and questions are so vague that you end up being told you have bubonic plague.

After this mass struggle to find out what is wrong with you via this efficiently rubbish system, the person on the other end of the phone or the computer usually tells you to make an appointment with your GP or go the A&E anyway, rendering the whole experience pointless.

Although during the journey into the self scan life, some people bypassed the whole NHS direct thing and became self-diagnosing self-trained doctors, well if you can become a shop assistant yourself why not a doctor?

This has then lead to a nation, if not a world population turning into a bunch of screaming hypochondriacs who think they have some weird sub-tropical disease that hasn't existed since 1906 because they Googled 'what is wrong with me if I have a red rash on my stomach.' Basically no matter what your symptoms, Google is going to tell you you're dying, no matter what.

Certain aspects of our lives such as doing the weekly shop or popping to Argos or Ikea have become the first casualties to the self-service lifestyle. But I wonder how long it will be before we are doing everything ourselves? If we've already began developing into Google trained doctors, who knows what else will come next in our ever evolving self-scan/self-service kind of life.